Last Friday, Bandcamp did something that anyone who has been protesting over the past few weeks, months, and/or their entire lives wishes they could do individually. The discrepancy between tangible action and one’s personal agenda is often the reason for one’s lack of effort when it comes to standing out on a national stage. The tried and true excuse of “How important can my one vote or opinion be?” can’t hold up any more, and Bandcamp just proved why.
Quite possibly the most positive side effect of this election cycle has been the solidarity among citizens and non-citizens alike to fight for what they believe in. It goes even further than that, however. The passion so many people have overtly expressed is quite admirable. The scariest thing that could have happened as a result of the election would be the exact opposite. That is, having so many people in opposition to President Trump’s rhetoric and policy changes but feeling too suppressed to express it.
Luckily, in today’s high tech age, one can express those beliefs through the power of social media, and it’s the aggregate of those efforts and the millions of people calling for action in the streets that most certainly influenced Bandcamp’s decision to donate 100% of their profits on February 3 to the ACLU. Piggybacking off of their cue, over 400 artists and record labels announced they would do the same. These bold moves follow several other similar announcements among high profile companies such as Twitter, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Uber, which also happen to be some of the most powerful and influential companies in our everyday lives.
This is exactly the validation those people need to continue fighting — not just against President Trump, but to continue expressing our opposition to anything for any reason at any time. That is, in part, what makes America so great. We don’t need to make this country great again. Rather, we need to make sure we don’t stop making it great.
The CEO of Bandcamp, Ethan Diamond, explained the decision he and his company made in a Bandcamp blog post:
“Like 98% of U.S. citizens (including the President), I am the descendant of immigrants—my great-grandparents came to America from Russia and Lithuania as teenagers and worked in sweatshops until they were able to afford to bring the rest of their families over. Most everyone you speak to in this country has a similar story to tell, because we are, in fact, a nation of immigrants, bound together by a shared belief in justice, equality, and the freedom to pursue a better life. In this context, last week’s Executive Order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States is not simply immoral, it violates the very spirit and foundation of America.”
Donald Trump isn’t the only president to have received heavy scrutiny from the press, the people of the United States, and fellow politicians, and he sure won’t be the last. It simply goes with the territory. Sure, he has more adversaries than most other presidents, and there’s a reason for that. Right or wrong, justified or unjustified, it’s important that those who are adverse to this administration’s decisions (or any administration’s decisions) are willing and able to speak out about their views. That is the only way we can then sift through the mess of hateful rhetoric, impromptu policy actions, hurt feelings, unjust decisions, and biased opinions.
Perhaps the important factor to take away from the bold moves on behalf of Bandcamp and other high profile companies, is that they aren’t afraid to lose business over making such a bold statement. It is when we, as citizens of the United States, fail to express ourselves in fear of being suppressed, creating enemies, or going against the norm, that we all lose. And when companies like Bandcamp take action either for or against social and political issues, it validates the efforts of every individual making their own statement.